Steve Diggle and the Revolution of Sound (feat. Mick Talbot) The Grove, Wimbledon
By Mark Youll | 17th August, 2011 | gig reviews |
It’s Diggle’s duty to deliver the message, whatever that message may be. Possibly before even his Buzzcocks high, and his teenage lust for literature, poetry and sixties counter culture got anywhere near sparking (his) big Buzzer hits like Autonomy, Harmony in my Head or Promises - his memo from Manchester was one of celebration and determination, and maybe, to push his passions into fashion again and again.
The mixed mob of loyal Buzzers and sharp-dressed mod types that unite to litter the Grove’s usual idle interior, and eventually make up tonight’s highly enthusiastic audience, are proof enough of Diggle’s ongoing appeal, and of the miles of styles he has covered musically since his jump into punk in ‘76. Flanked by the decidedly dapper ex-Style Counciler Mick Talbot, current Buzzcocks' bassist Chris Remington and drummer Kevin Hayes, Diggle’s smiley arrival to the venue’s slight but brightened stage area is approved by a wave of whistles and chants from a gang of diehards glued to the lip of centre stage where Diggle himself wastes no time in plugging in and tearing open the show, minus Talbot who’s own star presence on the other side of the stage- merely nodding his way through the first few numbers behind a puny piano set-up - draws some camera-clicking Richard Ashcroft lookalikes, all merrily mouthing off their “we are we are we are ver mods” jeers to the brutish beat of opener Sick City.
The evening’s set – mainly made up from songs snatched from the band’s current Air Conditioning LP – is a lively affair, and despite some audible displeasure from a couple of mohawked meatheads awaiting their sick fix of Orgasm Addict or maybe Boredom, its new tracks, songs like the sixties-charged Hey Maria and the political pop twist of Planet Star, that win over the bulk of tonight’s happy house.
When Talbot eventually joins the proceedings (prompting even wider smiles from Steve) there’s a significant change in dynamic, a noticeable step up towards what can only be described as “groovy” as Lie In Bed reveals, revamping this rumbling rock racket briefly, to something not a million miles from that of The Faces, peppered with clanking piano lines and swirling Hammond organ.
The plodding punch of Rock Revolution Punk, fuelled by Diggle’s snarling vocals and a series of shimmering Townshend-type guitar windmills, almost threatens to hijack the evening before the real victor here, the Kinks-like closer Victory Road rolls in to win the hearts of his now sweating supporters, many of which are invited onto the stage by Diggle himself for a roof-raising Hey Jude-style sing-a-long, Diggle punching the air, momentarily proving his powers without Shelley and Co., and delivering a loud and ‘groovy’ message that theres a mass of magic in the old Manc yet.
Photo by Alex Whyles